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Dr. P. Karen Murphy

Dr. P. Karen Murphy
Phone: 8148632278
Office Address:
102 CEDAR Building
University Park, PA 16802
Campus: University Park


Distinguished Professor of Education (Educational Psychology)
Harry and Marion Eberly Faculty Fellow
Head of the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education


Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education


Educational Psychology

Other Penn State Affiliations

Children, Youth, and Families Consortium


Dr. Murphy’s research involves the investigation of processes underlying students’ abilities to read and understand text and content, to critically examine and evaluate the information presented, and to make reasoned judgments as a result of reading. Her ongoing projects pertain to the role of critical-analytic thinking in teaching and learning, promoting high-level comprehension and content area learning through classroom discussion in elementary language arts classrooms, and the use of discourse to enhance content learning and conceptual change in high school physics and chemistry classrooms. Her research is funded by both the Institute of Education Sciences and the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Murphy frequently publishes in such prestigious journals as the Educational Psychologist, Journal of Educational Psychology, Contemporary Educational Psychology, and the Educational Researcher. She also recently co-authored a book on instructional leadership and learning for school administrators and has contributed to multiple book chapters, including two recent chapters in the Handbook of Educational Psychology. In addition, Dr. Murphy is a regular presenter at national and international conferences including the annual meetings of the American Psychological Association, American Educational Research Association, and European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction.

Currently, Dr. Murphy is the incoming Editor of the Review of Educational Research, a former Executive Editor of the Journal of Experimental Education, and former Associate Editor of Learning and Instruction. She also serves on the editorial boards of numerous other journals including the Contemporary Educational Psychology, Journal of Educational Psychology, and the Educational Psychologist.

Active in several national organizations, she is the immediate past Vice President of Division C (Learning and Instruction) and served two terms on the Executive Board of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). She also serves as AERAs Chair of the Ethics Committee.

Among her honors, Dr. Murphy is a Fellow of both the American Educational Research Association and the American Psychological Association and was the recipient of the Richard E. Snow Early Career Achievement award by Division 15 of the American Psychological Association (APA) for her research on student learning.

Courses Taught

EDPSY 406 Applied Statistical Inference for the Behavioral Sciences

EDPSY 524 Theories of Learning and Instruction

Office Hours

Spring 2019:

By appointment